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Open thread and news round-up w/ BREAKING news 12/21

Community/Meta Transgender Rights

– The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is not making public comments related to a proposed regulation that would affect healthcare for people who are transgender.

– The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reportedly banned several words from being used in budget documents including “transgender.”

– In the Fourth Circuit, the ACLU, in its challenge to President Trump’s ban on transgender military servicemembers, has opposed a request by the administration to postpone the January 1 deadline for the military to start accepting transgender servicemembers. BREAKING 12/21: The Fourth Circuit has denied the administration’s request.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings

47 Comments

  • 1. VIRick  |  December 18, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    California Sues Bakery for Discriminating against Same-Sex Couples

    The state of California has sued a Bakersfield bakery for discriminating against same-sex couples. On 13 December 2017, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing attempted to block Cathy Miller, owner of Tastries Bakery, from continuing to deny to serve LGBTQ people, with a temporary restraining order. But Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe rejected that attempt, and set a hearing for 2 February 2018.

    It could result in Miller having to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples, or in her having to stop making them altogether, reports "The Bakersfield Californian." Miller is said to have refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, Eileen and Mireya Rodriguez-Del Rio, in conflict with state nondiscrimination laws, citing her Christian beliefs. When they shared their story on Facebook, it led to another same-sex couple coming forward to say that they too had been denied a cake from the same bakery for being gay.

    In fact, Miller admits that she has been doing so for five years. Still, she sees herself as the victim, and gives her version, "Blah, blah."

    On the other hand, from the state of California, we have, “California respects and celebrates diverse religious beliefs and freedom of speech, but does not create exceptions to its civil rights laws to allow businesses to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation,” said Kevin Kish, director of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
    https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2017/12/california-su

  • 2. VIRick  |  December 18, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    Botswana: Second Trans Recognition Court Victory

    The year 2017 will go down in Botswana’s LGBT history as a year of revolutionary progress for transgender rights by activists and the country’s justice system. The landlocked country, bordering South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, has made significant strides in recognizing trans people in court and in defending their rights as citizens worthy of protection under the law.

    In November 2017, the Lobatse High Court heard the case of a trans man who wished to have his gender marker changed on his official documents. The ruling on this case, "ND v. Attorney General," was in favor of the trans man, and this set a strong precedent for the most-recent legal victory for trans rights advocates in Botswana.

    On 13 December 2017, Tshepo Ricki Kgositau received a ruling in her favor after months of agonizing delays, in a case dating from 2011 that was originally to be heard in August but was abruptly postponed due to the judge’s unavailability, which instructed that:

    1) The Registrar of Births and Deaths amend the birth certificate of Kgositau to show that she is female, and not male, within seven seven days.

    2) The Director of the Registrar of National Registration issue an Identity Document (Omang) identifying her as female within 21 days.

    Botswana, a former British protectorate, inherited homophobic legislation from the UK in the 1800s, and this has not been changed even after the country gained independence in 1966. Botswana remains one of the plethora of African countries which still criminalizes homosexual sex. And even with these two court victories, the government of Botswana still does not recognize trans people without the intervention of the court system.

    Most ironically, Setswana, the national language of Botswana, is essentially gender neutral and has no chronicled trans specific terminology. Instead, the current situation is entirely a result of British colonial rule and the importation of the gender-specific English language.
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/12/18/botswan

    In their summation, the Botswana activist who wrote this article for the "Washington Blade," Katlego Kol-Kes, really impressed me with this accurate citation in reference to the most advanced countries in Latin America on trans recognition and trans rights:

    "I believe that Botswana can follow in the footsteps of other countries (e.g., Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, and Ecuador) which allow for marker determinations without subscribing to the medicalized model of viewing trans people as gender defectors."

    Yes, Bolivia is in the very vanguard of nations on trans rights, shattering the myth that only wealthy, fully westernized, first-world nations can afford such.

  • 3. ianbirmingham  |  December 18, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    Trump on his own Lifetime Judicial Appointments: "I don't interview these guys, I let my staff do it"

    President Donald Trump phoned Sen. John Kennedy over the weekend and told him to do his job when White House staff send over an unqualified nominee for Senate confirmation, the Louisiana Republican said Monday. “The president and I get along fine, and he has told me, he said, ‘Kennedy, when some of my guys send somebody over who’s not qualified, you do your job,’” the senator recalled in an interview Monday morning with WWL-TV. “And I said, ‘Thank you, Mr. President.’ And I intend to do that.” …

    “The president called me the day before yesterday,” Kennedy said. “He doesn’t interview these guys. He has a staff do it. And he said, ‘Kennedy, I think you’re right.’” Kennedy described Petersen as a “really smart” and “decent guy.” “But just because you’ve seen ‘My Cousin Vinny’ doesn’t qualify you to be a federal judge,” he said. “And he has no litigation experience. And my job on the Judiciary Committee is to catch him. I would strongly suggest he not give up his day job.”

    https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/18/john-ke

  • 4. VIRick  |  December 18, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    "I don't interview these guys …"

    That short, facile sentence, in addition to dumping the blame onto others, is far more telling in terms of gender than the Assh-Ole-in-Charge ever intended it to be.

  • 5. allan120102  |  December 18, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    There supreme court, I mean the one in Bolivia gave a hard ruling against transgender rights the previous month. It declare unconstitutional part of the law. In a discriminatory ruling the Bolivian supreme court said that transgender people could not enjoy most fundamental rights.
    n Bolivia the movement of lesbians, gays, transsexuals and bisexuals (LGBT) has the T of transsexuality in front. Trans girls are the ones who always show up at public events, those who preside over many of the regional and national collectives, and who suffer the most from discrimination and harassment in the streets. That's why they asked during a National Extraordinary Congress in 2008 to change the name of their collective to TLGB. After years of claims, in 2016 they obtained the approval of a Gender Identity Law that recognized the change of name, sex and photography in all official documents. However, trans people have been able to enjoy this measure for just over a year: on November 10, the Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional a paragraph of this law by prohibiting, among other things, the possibility of transgender people to adopt and marry . The legal text states that they can not exercise "all fundamental rights, political, labor, civil, economic and social."

    "I hope it's not retroactive," says Luna Sharlotte Humerez, a 27-year-old trans activist. She is the first transsexual woman to legally marry in Bolivia. It was last December, at a wedding that is almost not celebrated because they did not deliver the necessary papers until a day before. In the civil registry, the same one that had granted her just half a year before the change of sex in her documents, they kept repeating "you can not get married", but she insisted until she spoke with the director of the Civil Registry Service. He told him that he was in all his rights; Before the law was a woman. Almost a year later, the marriage of a transsexual person with another of the opposite sex will be prohibited, as is the homosexual.
    https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/11/16/planeta_futu

  • 6. VIRick  |  December 18, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    Panamá: New Pro-Marriage-Equality Nominees to Supreme Court of Justice

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The Panamanian government has nominated two women to the Supreme Court who have announced support for marriage equality. As of 18 December 2017, the combined marriage equality case is still pending before the Supreme Court of Justice.

    Tras la designación de las abogadas Ana Lucrecia Tovar y Zuleyka Moore, por parte del presidente Juan Carlos Varela, para ocupar las dos vacantes de magistrados que quedarán en la Corte Suprema de Justicia, la Alianza Panameña por la Vida y la Familia (no sorpresa) salió en rechazo de dicha acción.

    Las designaciones de Zuleyka Moore y Ana Lucrecia Tovar deberán ser ratificadas o rechazadas por la Asamblea Nacional de Diputados.
    http://www.radiopanama.com.pa/noticias/actualidad

    After the nomination of attorneys Ana Lucrecia Tovar and Zuleyka Moore, by President Juan Carlos Varela, to occupy the two vacancies of justices that will occur in the Supreme Court of Justice, the Panamanian Alliance for Life and Family (no surprise) came out in rejection of said action.

    The appointments of Zuleyka Moore and Ana Lucrecia Tovar must be ratified or rejected by the National Assembly of Deputies.

  • 7. VIRick  |  December 18, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    St. Helena: Marriage Equality Bill to Be Debated at Legislative Council

    On 19 December 2017, in St. Helena, the Marriage Bill, 2017 (SP41, 2017) is to be debated in the Legislative Council.

    The motion is that the Marriage Bill, 2017 be approved in principle and referred to a Committee of the whole Council.
    http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/wp-content/uploads/

  • 8. VIRick  |  December 18, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    Namibia: Groundbreaking Same-Sex Marriage/Adoption Case to Proceed

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    A potentially groundbreaking case in which a same-sex married couple is suing the government of Namibia in a bid to affirm their right to live in Namibia as a family is expected to be litigated in the High Court during 2018, after an urgent part of the same matter was satisfactorily settled on Friday, 15 December 2017.

    Married couple Johann Potgieter, who is a Namibian citizen, and Daniel Digashu, who is South African, launched an urgent application against the government in the Windhoek High Court on Tuesday last week, 12 December 2017, asking the court to issue an interdict that would forbid the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration from treating Digashu and the couple's son as prohibited immigrants under the Immigration Control Act.

    They were also asking the court on an urgent basis to order the Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration to issue a certificate of identity to Digashu regarding the Immigration Control Act. Such a certificate would allow Digashu to leave Namibia and again enter and work in the country without having to apply for an employment permit or permanent residence permit.

    With the temporary work visa on which Digashu is currently in Namibia set to expire on 8 January 2018, the government's lawyers have given an undertaking that he would not be prevented from again entering the country on a new visitor's permit to rejoin his spouse and their son in Namibia.

    Thus, while the urgent part of the couple's case did not proceed, a second part will be placed back on the court roll next year, Judge Prinsloo informed on Friday, 15 December.

    In that part of the matter, Digashu and Potgieter will be asking the court to declare that the government recognizes their marriage, that Digashu is recognised as Potgieter's spouse in terms of the Immigration Control Act, and that they and their son are a family as envisaged in the Constitution.

    They will also ask the court to declare that the government and immigration authorities recognize an order of the High Court of South Africa in which they were granted joint guardianship of a boy they are in the process of adopting and were given permission to take the boy out of South Africa when they moved to Namibia.
    https://www.namibian.com.na/62664/read/Test-case-

  • 9. scream4ever  |  December 18, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    Good news!!! Hopefully it won't take long to have them confirmed.

  • 10. scream4ever  |  December 18, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    It's about time there was another African nation with SSM. I always thought it would be Mosambique, which had decriminalized same-sex activity and has discrimination protections.

  • 11. VIRick  |  December 18, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    Just as we have already seen in Latin America, where a legal marriage in one country between a same-sex couple of mixed citizenships is propelling said couple to then sue for legal recognition of their marriage in the other, we are finally seeing that same snowball effect emanating from South Africa's marriage/adoption laws.

  • 12. allan120102  |  December 19, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Breaking, Venezuela could be one of our marriage equality countries in 2018, Venezuela igualitaria has state that the demand on ssm is on the final step,and they are expecting a positive ruling plus other 4 lgbt demands. If it happens it will be a groundbreaking year for lbgt in Venezuela. A ruling is not expect this year as the judicial has gone to vacations but is expected in 2018. https://twitter.com/VE_Igualitaria/status/9431961https://twitter.com/VE_Igualitaria/status/9431983

  • 13. scream4ever  |  December 19, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    Keeping the good news coming, it looks like the Republicans have lost control of the Virginia House of Delegates (50-50 tie, since the Democrats control the Governorship) when in one of the recounts the Dem candidate won by 1 vote!!! The Democrats could easily regain control if one of the other recounts goes our way, or if a special election is called for the district where many voters were directed to the wrong precinct.

  • 14. VIRick  |  December 19, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    Venezuela: Status Summary of All LGBTI Cases Before TSJ (Supreme Tribunal of Justice)

    Per Venezuela Igualitaria, 19 de diciembre 2017:‏

    1. El Recurso de Nulidad del Art. 44 del Código Civil, en el que buscamos alcanzar el matrimonio igualitario, quedó en etapa final. Estamos esperando sentencia.

    2. La Acción por Omisión Legislativa sobre el Proyecto de Ley de Matrimonio Civil Igualitario, también quedó en etapa final. Estamos esperando sentencia.

    3. La Acción Innominada por el Derecho Humano al Reconocimiento de la Identidad de Género Auto-Percibida, quedó en etapa final. Estamos esperando sentencia.

    4. El Recurso de Nulidad del Artículo 565 COJM, sobre la prohibición de personas LGBTI en las Fuerzas Armadas, quedó en estado de admisión. Estimamos que al admitirse por Mero Derecho, se dicte de una vez la sentencia.

    5. También queda pendiente la Aclaratoria de la Sentencia 1187/2016, respecto al registro de hijos de familias homoparentales nacidos antes y después de la decisión.
    https://twitter.com/VE_Igualitaria

    1. The Appeal for Annulment of Article 44 of the Civil Code, in which we seek to achieve marriage equality, was in the final stage. We are awaiting a ruling.

    2. The Action on the Legislative Omission concerning the Equal Civil Marriage Law Project was also in the final stage. We are awaiting a ruling.

    3. The Un-named Action for the Human Right to the Recognition of Self-Perceived Gender Identity, was in the final stage. We are awaiting a ruling.

    4. The Appeal for Annulment of Article 565 COJM, on the prohibition of LGBTI persons in the Armed Forces, was in a state of admission. We estimate that once admitted by Mero Derecho (Mere Right), the judgment will be handed down once and for all.

    5. Also pending is the Clarification of Sentence 1187/2016, regarding the registration of children of homoparental families born before and after said decision.

    The tenaciousness of Giovanni Piermattei, presidente de Venezuela Igualitaria, is at least on par, if not more so, than that of Pamela Troya of Ecuador and Karen Atala of Chile.

  • 15. ianbirmingham  |  December 19, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    An important example for anyone who thinks "My vote doesn't count"… it absolutely does!!

  • 16. VIRick  |  December 19, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Virginia: Republicans Lose Control of House of Delegates

    Today, 19 December 2017, it appears that Republicans have lost control of the Virginia House of Delegates after a Democrat won a recount by one vote. Election officials said Shelly Simonds (D) beat state Del. David Yancey (R-Newport News) by an 11,608-11,607 vote margin.

    The "Washington Post" reported that Yancey was ahead of Simonds by 10 votes going into the recount that took place today. A three-judge panel is expected to certify the results tomorrow, 20 December 2017.

    Simonds’ victory creates a tie between Democrats and Republicans in the chamber. New members are to be sworn in on 10 January 2018.
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/12/19/republi

  • 17. allan120102  |  December 19, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Base on all of what I am seeing and the optimism the lgbt group has, I find it likely the Venezuelan supreme court will legalize ssm in 2018. I am pretty happy and that is why I said in past entries that I find it likelier of Venezuela having marriage equality instead of Ecuador, as Venezuela supreme court looks friendlier to lgbt groups than Ecuador supreme court.

  • 18. scream4ever  |  December 19, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    And there's a strong chance that the Democrats will fully retake the House of Delegates, as one of the House Districts going to recount may go to a special election, since many voters there were directed to the wrong precincts/polling locations.

  • 19. scream4ever  |  December 19, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Venezuela is a much bigger victory population-wise (even more so than Chile), although my hope is that all these nearby nations will force Ecuador's hand.

  • 20. VIRick  |  December 19, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Palm Beach County FL Bans Conversion Therapy for Minors

    West Palm Beach – On 19 December 2017, Palm Beach County commissioners voted 5-2 to ban conversion therapy for minors, becoming the first county in the state of Florida to approve such a ban.

    The vote came after County Attorney Denise Nieman recommended that the commission not pass the proposed ordinance. She cited a lawsuit against Tampa, which had passed a similar ordinance, and is now being sued by a pair of people represented by Liberty Counsel.
    http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/local-govt–p

  • 21. allan120102  |  December 19, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    Agree, I am almost positive we will win Chile and Venezuela, Ecuador will come once the supreme court struck down there ban even if they have a hissy fit doing it. Of the latin countries in SA that would left Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay. I could see Bolivia and Peru in the upcoming years but Paraguay will be the a hard work. They have a extreme far right president and its senate its also strongly to the right. Being the most conservative in SA is like the Mississippi of the USA.

    I am not mentioning Guayana or Suriname as I dont know much about there history nor lgbt acceptence, I know Guyana still has a ban on consensual sodomy but supposedly its unenforce.

  • 22. VIRick  |  December 19, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    St. Helena: Marriage Equality Approved by Legislative Council

    Per LGBT Marriage Equality News:

    St. Helena: Marriage Equality victory! The Legislative Council voted 9-2 in favor of the same-sex marriage bill. It now awaits Governor's signature, after which marriage equality will have been legalized in 9 of 14 British Overseas Territories (including Bermuda).
    https://twitter.com/LGBTMarriage

    Per St. Helena Online:

    Same-sex marriage approved for St. Helena: Opponent calls for society to embrace the result. On 19 December 2017, marriage between same-sex couples has been approved by St. Helena’s Legislative Council by nine votes to two, meaning weddings could take place within weeks.

    Governor Lisa Phillips will now be asked to ratify the bill and make it law, giving people on St Helena the same rights as same-sex couples on Ascension, Tristan da Cunha, and all other UK overseas territories outside the Caribbean.

    Anthony Green, the sponsor of the marriage legislation, closing the debate, pointedly dismissed any reference to Bermuda. “We do not follow the Bermuda constitution,” he said. “We have our own constitution.”

    (As an outside incentive for its passage at this time), a legal challenge to the existing St. Helena marriage law, passed in 1851, was due to be heard in the Supreme Court in January 2018.
    http://sthelenaonline.org/same-sex-marriage-appro

    Still, setting aside this imminent Supreme Court challenge for a moment, the passage of the marriage equality legislation in St. Helena could not have occurred at a better time, vis-a-vis Bermuda.

  • 23. VIRick  |  December 19, 2017 at 11:49 pm

    Up-Date on Transgender Military Ban Court Challenges
    (Catching Trump and DOJ in yet another Lie, thereby fairly well trashing the government case)

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Today, 19 December 2017, when Washington State filed its opposition, in "Karnoski v. Trump," to the administration's 9th Circuit Court of Appeals motion for a stay, it contained in its addendum, “Policy Memorandum 2-5, Transgender Applicant Processing” issued by the Department of Defense to Sector Commanders, Battalion Commanders, MEPS Commanders, and Directors and Special Staff Officers. The memo provides guidance for processing transgender applicants for military service beginning on 1 January 2018.

    This memo has now been filed as supplemental authority in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals case, "Stone v. Trump," and in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals case, "Doe v. Trump."

    From the filing in "Stone:"
    "The Memorandum became public this afternoon when filed in 'Karnoski v. Trump, No. 17-36009 (9th Cir.),' by the State of Washington, which received the Memorandum through the Washington National Guard. Plaintiffs respectfully submit that this detailed guidance further belies Defendants’ conclusory and unsubstantiated claims that they are not prepared to comply with the injunction and begin processing new accessions on 1 January 2017, the date that Secretary Mattis previously set."

    Doc 23 – Plaintiffs-Appellees Notice of Supplemental Authority: Department of Defense “Policy Memorandum 2-5, Transgender Applicant Processing” issued to Sector Commanders, Battalion Commanders, MEPS Commanders, and Directors and Special Staff Officers, Dated December 8, 2017, is here:
    http://files.eqcf.org/cases/17-2398-23/

  • 24. scream4ever  |  December 19, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    It will be blatant judicial activism if this is stayed at this point.

  • 25. FredDorner  |  December 20, 2017 at 10:19 am

    As of now it looks like the DoD is doing the right thing: https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/pentagon-

  • 26. VIRick  |  December 20, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Querétaro: Lesbian Wins Social Security Pension for Widows

    Querétaro: Lesbiana Gana al IMSS Pensión por Viudez

    El 15 de diciembre 2017, (en una apelación judicial), Inés Acevedo Espinosa obtuvo la segunda resolución legal a su favor, lo que le permitiría recibir la pensión por viudez del Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS), tras el fallecimiento de su esposa, Yolanda.

    Se trata del cuarto asunto nacional en contra del artículo 134 del Seguro Social, que se considera discriminatorio, porque no reconoce la pensión por viudez a las personas que pierden a su pareja antes de un año de matrimonio; por lo que con un expediente más se sentaría jurisprudencia en el país.

    La resolución a favor de Inés generó el respaldo de activistas y de la comunidad de la diversidad sexual, que desde hace un año acompañan a la viuda para exigir al IMSS el pago de su pensión, toda vez que su pareja de más de 20 años, Yolanda, murió a unos meses de que ambas se casaron por lo civil en el municipio de (Santiago de) Querétaro.

    Aunque el IMSS tiene diez días para ampararse nuevamente, la abogada Consolación González Loyola Pérez confió en que el instituto acatará la segunda resolución a favor de Inés y pagará la pensión a la que tiene derecho como viuda.
    https://www.diariodequeretaro.com.mx/local/lesbia

    On 15 December 2017, (on appeal), Inés Acevedo Espinosa obtained the second legal resolution in her favor, which would allow her to receive the widow's pension from the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS), after the death of her wife, Yolanda.

    This is the fourth national ruling against Article 134 of the Social Security law, which is considered discriminatory, because it does not recognize the widow's pension for those who lose their partner before one year of marriage; so one more filing would establish the jurisprudence on this matter in Mexico.

    The resolution in favor of Inés obtained the support of activists and the community of sexual diversity, who for the past year have accompanied the widow to demand from the IMSS the payment of her pension, since her partner of more than 20 years, Yolanda, died a few months after they were civilly married in the municipality of (Santiago de) Querétaro.

    Although the IMSS has ten days to defend itself again, the lawyer Consolación González Loyola Pérez trusted that the institute will comply with the second resolution in favor of Inés and will pay the pension to which she is entitled as a widow.

    Note: This federal case is doubly-important, not only in its challenge against antiquated Social Security rules, but also in the appeals court, el Tribunal Colegiado en Materia Administrativa y del Trabajo, recognizing and upholding Santiago de Querétaro's continued marrying of same-sex couples, without the need for an amparo, and without the state law having yet been changed, based solely upon the strength of that municipality following the jurisprudence of Mexico's Supreme Court, for this couple included.

    Basically put, with this ruling in which the federal court accepted this marriage as marriage, every remaining municipality in Mexico, regardless of their respective state laws, are legally clear to follow the lead of Santiago de Querétaro in marrying same-sex couples without any further need for their obtaining an amparo beforehand. Of course, the obfuscators will continue to obfuscate, but they have no argument that will stand up in court.

  • 27. ianbirmingham  |  December 20, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    Opponents of Jacksonville’s human rights ordinance continue to raise money, organize

    One of the under-the-radar political stories of the 2018 cycle in Northeast Florida: the move by religious conservatives to overturn Jacksonville’s LGBT protections.

    Empower Jacksonville, a political action committee, brought in $10,100 in November — pushing it to $31,430 raised and just over $23,000 on hand.

    Empower Jacksonville seeks to have two ballot items next August. The first: a referendum to change the city’s charter to allow citizens to challenge any law via referendum.

    The second measure: a straw ballot on whether or not the HRO should be subject to a citizen referendum. The specific area of contention: the additions to the law this February, not the previously extant law.

    Those additions: protections of LGBT people in the areas of housing discrimination, workplace protections, and public accommodations.

    The bill has carve-outs and caveats: protections for churches and church schools, businesses with under 15 employees, and no possibility of prison time for violating the ordinance. The Jacksonville Human Rights Commission handles investigations.

    There have been a couple of violations claimed, both on the grounds of housing discrimination; in other words, the dread specters of people exploiting the ordinance to make dubious claims have yet to come to pass in the ten months since it has been law.

    Nonetheless, for those on the religious right, it’s a matter of principle — and political activism.

    The group is collecting petitions currently; as one would suspect, churches will be a primary collection point.

    Empower had an organizational meeting Tuesday evening at the Salem Centre. Expect a ramp up for petitions in the months ahead.

    http://floridapolitics.com/archives/252125-jackso

  • 28. scream4ever  |  December 20, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    I hope we don't make the same mistakes as we did in Houston.

  • 29. Elihu_Bystander  |  December 21, 2017 at 6:09 am

    Empower Jacksonville is an arm of the usual suspects and they present the same old rhetoric about protecting women and young children. No surprises here.

    Take time to read the comments and you will see.

    http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/elections/2017

  • 30. JayJonson  |  December 21, 2017 at 6:38 am

    Be glad that some federal judges continue to enforce the rule of law. The former Atlanta police chief who was fired for forcing his egregious anti-gay book on city employees sued in federal court, claiming his religious and free speech rights were violated. He lost.

    Read all about it: http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/davidbad

  • 31. Elihu_Bystander  |  December 21, 2017 at 6:42 am

    Scream, we had an extended conversation on this blog back when SCOTUS denied certiorari. The case hasn't completed it's process in the state judicial system. The state district court has been instructed to re-evaluate it's original opinion. It was simply too early for SCOTUS to get involved. It's still very much a live case. I do not believe that their have been any mistakes in the Houston case, except for the Texas Supreme Court agreeing to take up the case after first having refused to consider it. Certainly, dirty politics was involved in that move.

    These manipulations always take too much time. Adversaries always drag their feet as long as there is even a slight glimmer of hope that they will prevail. Jurisprudence is always the slowest means to resolve conflict. But, sometimes it's the only path available to correct a civil wrong.

  • 32. allan120102  |  December 21, 2017 at 8:26 am

    SLP Mexico has another amparo granted for a ssm couple who want to be married. http://pulsoslp.com.mx/2017/12/21/el-matrimonio-g

  • 33. scream4ever  |  December 21, 2017 at 10:20 am

    I'm not talking about the city benefits case, but the HERO ordinance repeal. When the Supreme Court ruled against us, we never should've allowed it to go to a vote. The legislature simply should've repealed it and re-passed it the following year.

  • 34. VIRick  |  December 21, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    Holiday Greetings from Puerto Rico

    Per Banco Popular de Puerto Rico:

    May our light shine brightly this holiday season and may our music and invincible contagious joy reach every corner of our beloved Island. Happy holidays!

    In the meantime, the Army Corps of Engineers announced that electrical power will not be fully restored in Puerto Rico until next May, a full 8 months after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island.
    https://www.buzzfeed.com/briannasacks/puerto-rico

    With that, already today, 21 December 2017, there were 60 commercial flights from San Juan International, a new record number post-hurricane, to various cities on the US mainland, 28 of which flew to one of 4 cities in Florida: Orlando (10), Ft. Lauderdale (9), Miami (6), and Tampa (3). As of the end of November, it has been estimated that over 200,000 people had already migrated from Puerto Rico to Florida, with no end in sight. Today alone, about 7,000 more people arrived, of which about half will likely stay permanently.

    Other potentially flippable states to which Puerto Ricans are heading, with non-stop flights from San Juan, are Georgia (4), Texas (3), Pennsylvania (3), North Carolina (2), and Virginia (2). The remaining 18 flights went to states already solidly blue, MA (3), CT (1), NY (7), NJ (3), MD (2), and IL (2).

  • 35. VIRick  |  December 21, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Bermuda: Wedding Relief for Four Gay Couples

    Four same-sex couples who are planning to marry at sea on Bermudian-registered ships will still be able to do so, the Government confirmed today, 21 December 2017. Marriage banns have already been posted by the Registrar-General for the unions, with two of the ceremonies due to take place this month and a further two in January.

    Parliament approved legislation last week to replace same-sex marriages with domestic partnerships, signalling an end to marriage equality on the island. But a Ministry of Home Affairs spokeswoman confirmed today that the four maritime weddings for which banns have already been posted would be able to take place. And she said the Registrar-General would still accept applications for the posting of same-sex marriage banns “until the law takes effect.” Application forms for domestic partnerships will become available on the date the law takes effect.

    As of yesterday, 20 December 2017, John Rankin, the Governor, had yet to give assent to the Bill to enable it to become law.

    Gay couples have been able to marry in Bermuda and on ships registered on the island since a landmark Supreme Court ruling in May. A total of eight couples have already taken advantage of the decision, with seven weddings at the Registry-General and one private ceremony elsewhere, with the 8th couple have just gotten married quite recently.
    http://www.royalgazette.com/same-sex-marriage/art

  • 36. VIRick  |  December 21, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    4th Circuit Court of Appeals Denies Trans Recruitment Delay

    Today, 21 December 2017, in "Stone v. Trump," in a short order, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the DOJ request to delay the 1 January 2018 trans military recruitment start-up date.

    The short order simply states, "The court denies the motion for administrative stay and partial stay pending appeal." The panel hearing the request was Judge Diana Motz, Albert Diaz, and Pamela Harris.
    https://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/appeals-cou

    The Order is here:
    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4334968-S

  • 37. VIRick  |  December 21, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Cuba: Raul Castro to Step Down as President

    On Thursday, 21 December 2017, according to a vote taken in the island state's National Assembly, Cuban President Raul Castro will step down in April 2018, immediately after his successor is chosen by a top governing council. The vote by lawmakers pushed back the date of general elections, which were initially to be held at the end of February. The delay was necessary due to disruption caused by Hurricane Irma, which ravaged much of Cuba in September.

    It means that Castro, 86, will stay on as President a couple of months later than planned. The modification to Cuba's election calendar means general elections choosing the National Assembly's 600 members will also be moved to a date yet to be decided.

    Cuba's president is not directly elected by the people, but by the Council of State, which in turn is chosen by the National Assembly. The lawmakers' election of the Council of State posts, including that of its president, who will also be the new president of Cuba, replacing Raul Castro, was set for 19 April 2018.
    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/raul-castro-t

    After 59 years, the last of the Castros is finally fading from power. We will have to wait and see what changes, if any, are to occur vis-a-vis LGBT rights, including marriage, once others have taken over.

  • 38. Elihu_Bystander  |  December 21, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Thank you for the clarification. What could the pro LGBT group have done better? Jacksonville FL will be a difficult city. It makes it doubly important that the Empower Jacksonville's propositions be defeated in August-18. I'm sure they will be able acquire the required numbers for certification.

    I was stationed in Jacksonville 1967-69. I never felt comfortable in that city. I was glad to leave it behind.

  • 39. scream4ever  |  December 21, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    I highly doubt the Supreme Court will stay this.

  • 40. scream4ever  |  December 21, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Word is now that the Governor wants to veto.

  • 41. scream4ever  |  December 21, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    We could've not let it go before the voters, by simply having the legislature repeal it, and then re-pass it again the following year. The certification was due to an error from a city official.

    But yes we must defeat both, even though they wouldn't actually repeal anything yet.

  • 42. VIRick  |  December 21, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Federal District of Mexico: 8 Years of Marriage Equality

    Per Lol Kin Castañeda Ba, current pro-marriage-equality member of the ALDF‏:

    Hace 8 años, el 21 de diciembre 2009, en la Asamblea Legislativa, logramos que el Distrito Federal fuera la primer Ciudad de América Latina en reconocer el matrimonio igualitario. Gracias a quienes legislaron, David Razú Aznar incluido, para hacerlo posible.
    https://twitter.com/lolkincast/status/94395058419

    Eight years ago in the Legislative Assembly, we made the Federal District the first City in Latin America to recognize marriage equality. Thanks to those who legislated, David Razú Aznar included, to make it possible.

    Per CODISE AC:

    El 21 de diciembre del 2009 la Asamblea Legislativa del Distrito Federal aprobó el matrimonio igualitario, siendo la primera ciudad en América Latina en donde las parejas del mismo sexo pudieron comenzar a casarse y adoptar.
    https://twitter.com/CODISE_AC

    On 21 December 2009, the Legislative Assembly of the Federal District approved marriage equality, being the first city in Latin America where same-sex couples could begin to marry and adopt.

  • 43. VIRick  |  December 21, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Switzerland: Great Majority for Marriage for All

    La mayoría de los suizos (un 72%) está a favor del matrimonio igualitario.

    The majority of Swiss (72%) are in favor of marriage equality.
    http://www.queer.de/detail.php?article_id=30334

    Große Mehrheit für Ehe für alle. Selbst Anhänger der rechtspopulistischen SVP (Schweizerischen Volkspartei) wollen Schwule und Lesben nicht mehr länger im Ehe-Recht diskriminieren – außer beim Adoptionsrecht.

    Great majority for marriage for all. Even supporters of the right-wing populist SVP (Schweizerischen Volkspartei) no longer want to discriminate against gays and lesbians in marriage law – except in the case of adoption law.

  • 44. VIRick  |  December 21, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    Memphis Removed Two Confederate Statues

    After the Memphis City Council voted to approve the immediate removal of two Confederate statues, overnight, 20-21 December 2017, crews successfully removed those of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Ku Klux Klan founder, Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, from two different city parks.
    https://www.advocate.com/race/2017/12/21/confeder

  • 45. ianbirmingham  |  December 21, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    Indonesia handing lengthy prison terms to gay men

    In Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, homosexuality has generally been tolerated, if marginalised. But that began to change last year, when the authorities, under pressure from right-wing Islamic groups, started arresting gay men in what experts say are unprecedented numbers, raiding not just bars and saunas but hotel rooms and private apartments.

    The crackdown began in November 2016, when the police broke up a party in South Jakarta and detained 13 men. The most recent incident was in October, when 51 men were arrested at what is thought to be Jakarta’s last gay sauna. (The Atlantis closed soon after the raid in May.)

    …even men who were not charged have been subjected to humiliating scrutiny and lurid news coverage, with their photos often posted on social media. Indonesian news outlets breathlessly detailed services offered at the Atlantis, like mock jail cells for role playing, and speculated that it was a hub for prostitution. …

    Historically, gay and transgender Indonesians have been accepted — if poorly understood — as long as they married people of the opposite sex and had children, said Tom Boellstorff, an anthropologist at the University of California, Irvine, and author of “The Gay Archipelago: Sexuality and Nation in Indonesia.”

    Gay men have been caned in public in the autonomous province of Aceh, where Shariah law is enforced. But in the vast majority of Indonesia, anti-gay violence has been rare, and persecution of gay people by the state has been even rarer. While vigilante groups sometimes got headlines by shutting down gay film festivals or transgender beauty pageants, such violence was not state-sanctioned, Boellstorff said.

    “Most Indonesians had no idea what ‘gay’ meant,” he said. “This just was not on the government’s radar.”

    But that has begun to change in the past few years, as Indonesian politicians have seen advantage in appealing to hard-line Islamic sentiment. …

    Many Indonesians have struggled to put the news about the raids into context, because there are few positive examples of gay men in the popular media, Handoko’s sister said. There is no Indonesian equivalent of “Brokeback Mountain,” she said.

    https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/asean/1383218/in

    Note: Indonesia's population size = 81% of the population of the US.

  • 46. JayJonson  |  December 22, 2017 at 7:26 am

    Kirk Humphreys, former Oklahoma City mayor and current member of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents, recently made some gratuitous anti-gay comments that sparked demonstrations and calls for his resignation. He was slated to become chairman of the Board of Regents next year and in that position to lead the search for a replacement for President David Boren, who has been very supportive of lgbt students and faculty and the flagship university of a state that has prided itself on its anti-gay attitudes and politicians. I am glad to report that after a couple of not very convincing apologies, Humprheys has now decided to resign from his position.

    I am glad that even in a very red state, anti-gay statements are apparently now considered disqualifying, at least insofar as universities are concerned. Boren has worked hard to reverse OU's reputation as simply a football school. I suspect that he must have wanted Humphreys gone so as to protect his reputation.
    http://kfor.com/2017/12/21/kirk-humphreys-resigni

  • 47. guitaristbl  |  December 22, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Roy Moore goes after Doug Jones's gay son :
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/12/22/disgraced-re

    The barrel has no bottom with this man apparently.

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